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Computers… they’re not that scary

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Company guidance, Digital transformation

Wednesday is All Hallows’ Eve. The night when the ghosts of the dead return to earth. A night of magic and superstition. Spirits will mingle amongst us looking for treats on doorsteps and lit candles to help them find their way back to the spirit world.

Many people claim to have had a spooky encounter with ghosts, catching something in the corner of their eye or waking with a start in the middle of the night. The UK is well-known for having many haunted houses and locations. And even here at Companies House there is a rumour of a ghostly monk who wanders around the repository in the basement of our Cardiff offices.

The profusion of horror films with a Halloween theme has heightened everyone’s fear of the occasion and increased people’s phasmophobia (fear of ghosts). Other things that fill us with dread at this time of year are snakes, bats, witches and vampires. In fact, most of these items appear high on most people’s list of phobias. But, the number one phobia by quite a margin is spiders. For around 45 per cent of the UK, spotting or sharing a room with one of our eight-legged friends is the stuff of nightmares.

Phobias come in many shapes and sizes. It’s not just things that crawl or slither – people can have other fears and some of them are quite strange.

Acrophobia is the fear of heights. An estimated 23 million adults who suffer from this phobia may go to great lengths to avoid high places such as bridges, towers or tall buildings.

Aerophobia is the fear of flying. Around one out of every three people have some level of fear of flying – feeling disoriented or unwell at the thought of getting on a plane.

Ironically, sesquipedalophobia is the fear of long words. If you suffer from this – sorry. That’s probably set you off.

I think coulrophobia is quite a modern phobia. I can remember when clowns were friendly, cheeky, comedy characters that gave out balloons at the circus and threw custard pies at each other. Now, thanks to films like Stephen King’s IT and recent portrayals like the Joker in Batman, things have taken a more sinister turn.

Another phobia, that some of our customers suffer from, is cyberphobia. Cyberphobia is the irrational fear of computers or technology. How do we know that some of our customers have this? Well, we receive over 6000 paper documents (251 kilograms) every week. Even though, many of these documents have alternative online equivalents.

A repository area containing old files and folders.
The spooky repository in the basement of our Cardiff office. Can you see a monk?

There are so many reasons why it’s better to file online. Primarily it’s the security, speed, acknowledgement and confirmation of acceptance that makes it the best option. Not to mention, the environmental savings.

Customers like to know that their accounts have arrived, and electronically-submitted accounts allow us to process and place them on the public record much faster than paper documents.

We do, of course, make every effort to process all documents as promptly as possible. But there’s always going to be a time delay between receipt and the placing of paper documents on the public register.

According to NHS guidance, almost all phobias can be successfully treated and cured. Simple phobias can be treated with gradual exposure to the object, situation, animal or place that causes the fear or anxiety. This is known as desensitisation or self-exposure therapy.

Here's how it works. Someone who’s afraid of spiders can begin with discussing spiders or looking at pictures of spiders. At each step, they practice relaxing. Once the anxiety is reduced, the patient is ready for actual exposure. That is, gradually moving closer to an actual session with live spiders.

A computer screen displaying a Companies House webpage.

Are you ready to begin discussing online filing? Start with the picture of the computer above. Once you’re happy with that, you can create an online filing account.

Just relax, it’s easy.

Good luck.

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